Close your eyes and picture a dominant woman. Conjure her in your mind.
The woman you imagine might be dressed in a well-tailored business suit or jeans and a t-shirt. She might be wearing a leather corset and stiletto heels or a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. It doesn’t really matter what she’s wearing or what she looks like — whether she’s a professional dominatrix, a business colleague, or the person you love — the dominant woman you imagined is probably graceful, confident, and commanding.
I am none of those things.
While I am the dominant partner in my D/s relationship, I’m also awkward, unsure, and indecisive. Those characteristics don’t mean I’m not dominant, they just mean I have to work a little harder for it. Dominance isn’t effortless for me.
I’m in my first D/s relationship and still consider myself new to BDSM. As a novice Domme, I find it takes a lot of work to compensate for my inexperience. While the D/s dynamic felt natural to me from the very beginning, the technical skills have not come so easily. Despite my sadism, I’m clumsy and often suffer more S&M related bumps and bruises than my masochistic, submissive partner. (The irony is not lost on me.)
Being inexperienced and uncoordinated is frustrating! I want to be good at everything… right now. I want to be the graceful, confident, commanding dominant I imagine in my head. But I fall short… a lot. I’m lucky to have a very patient partner, but he’s a lot more forgiving of me than I am.
Because so much of dominance is about command and control, I’m self-conscious about my shortcomings. My insecurities often manifest as excessive focus on technical skills or unimportant details. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with ‘doing it right’ (whatever it is… attire, grooming, sensory deprivation, impact play, etc.) that I don’t enjoy myself.
When I think about that stuff too much, I get stuck in my head and miss out on everything else — the physical sensations, the emotions, and the intimacy — all those lovely things that make playing fun and make sex worth having.
But I do have a secret weapon in the war against self-consciousness. There is one thing that never fails to get me out of my head — one kink that turns me into the graceful, confident, commanding dominant I want to be.
With rope in my hands, I am dominant. (I swear the stuff is magic.)
That’s why rope is the kink nearest and dearest to my heart — it gets me out of my head, gives me grace I don’t have, and allows me to enjoy the physical, mental, and emotional elements that make for intimate, mind-blowing, truly satisfying sex.
Of course rope and bondage go hand-in-hand, but rope bondage is so much more than just plain old bondage. All by itself, bondage is simply the practice of restraining a partner. Restraint can be quickly and easily accomplished with a good set of wrist and ankle cuffs, some nylon webbing, and a couple of carabiners.
Using rope isn’t nearly as quick or easy, but it’s worth the time and effort because it’s so much more intimate and special. Rope bondage is as much about the process (the intimate practice of tying up a lover) as it is about the product (in my case, a beautiful bound man to use for my sexual pleasure).
I was familiar with basic knot theory long before I ever thought about using rope in the bedroom. I learned a number of knots and their various uses from an ex-boyfriend (and former boy scout) who introduced me to recreational rock climbing, and from a summer I spent with friends sailing a catamaran around the Gulf of Mexico.
Knots aren’t rocket science, but they do take time to learn and practice to master. Fortunately, that time and practice can be a precursor to sex — taking the time to learn with your partner (and on your partner) means you’re spending time together and touching each other all over (without rushing right into groping your partner’s junk). It’s foreplay — it heightens anticipation for the big event and adds some drama to what might otherwise be boring, rushed, vanilla sex.
While my submissive is the one being tied (the ‘rope bottom’), I kink on rope specifically because of what it does to me when I’m tying (as the ‘rope top’). Tying my lover helps me clear my head of all those disruptive, self-conscious thoughts and helps me appreciate the moment. It makes me pay more attention to him — to his body and the way it moves, to his physical and emotional responses, and to his level of comfort (or discomfort). I notice the expression in his eyes, the sounds he makes, and the way his breathing speeds or slows in response to my touch. When I take notice of all those things, I realize how much I enjoy them and how much they turn me on.
Besides clearing my head and getting me hot and bothered, I appreciate the way that tying him is an exercise of our trust in each other (particularly when I tie him in stressful positions with elaborate ties and complicated knots). He has to trust me with his physical and emotional safety, and I have to trust that he’ll communicate with me if something isn’t right. For that reason, rope bondage makes us focus on each other instead of focusing on the act. Ultimately, it means we’re more present in the moment and more in tune with each other.
Of course, the best thing about rope bondage is the end result. Seeing a lover’s body crisscrossed with rope is so-fucking-hot.
In my mind, there is nothing more beautiful than a man unburdened of his strength, rendered helpless, bent and bound according to my wishes. Nothing is hotter than a man who is eager to give me control, and nothing turns me on quite like taking it.
When he’s bound and vulnerable, he is my plaything, mine to admire, to use, and enjoy. In that moment, I realize what I am — I’m the confident, graceful, commanding woman I want to be.